Monday, April 12, 2004

The Masters Final Round: Day After TIVO Edition

It's Monday night and I've read all about Phil Mickelson winning The Masters while shedding the title, "Best Player Never To Win A Major." The only thing I haven't done is seen the final round and through the power of TIVO I'm going to "suspend disbelief" and see it now. And, with full props to Bill Simmons (TAFKATBSG) I'm going to do a running commentary of the final nine holes.

Kind of neat piece by Dick Enberg on Amen Corner with some good highlights including Larry Mize's spike into Greg Norman's bid for a Green Jacket. I never weary of seeing Mize's dance.

You can always tell what player is ready to win on the final day at Augusta by the color of their shirt. Jack in '86 with yellow. Tiger is always Christmas after a Masters win(this Sunday too). Bernhard Langer looks like he is more ready for a St. Tropez vacation than another green jacket with a little tangerine number. Phil in Terminator Black.

Sergio Garcia teasing us with an Eagle & Birdie to -2. 10 groups ahead of the final pair. ....and another waggle. (It looks like he's wearing a St. Louis Gray's cap from Mitchell & Ness.)

Lanny Wadkins on Langer's putting stroke, "He threw pretty out the window a long time ago." Or as my wife just said, "Homely as a mud fence." She's from Texas.

Phil goes out in 38. One back.

Now the tournament starts. Lanny said it, "Here we go."

Phil into the left rough from the tee on 10. DiMarco crushes his tee shot. And a Roar...

KJ Choi jars a 220 five iron for eagle. 3rd Eagle ever at the par 4 11th hole.

Great up and down for Phil at 10 from a pine cone out of the gunk. Els misses a birdie putt at 12.

Another great stat: Els has eagled or birdied the 13th hole in 22/41 Masters rounds. Meal ticket!

Ernie drains the Eagle! Three shot lead over Phil...

(Kind of anticlimactic when you know who wins, but I'm not a good enough typist to do this in real time. Call me two-fingers.)

Paul Casey is imploding but I think we'll be seeing him at the Ryder Cup.

Casey Wittenburg the 19 year old from Oklahoma State finished as low amateur. I hope he uses that to his advantage when he returns to school.

Phil knows Ernie landed the eagle and drains a birdie on top at 12. HUGE. Two stroke spread. Par 5 13th is next.

DiMarco and the claw are fading(though CBS hasn't stopped ignoring him...yet.) Ernie in jail at 14 hooks a shot level with the hole. Tough up & down coming.

Another Roar......Harrington with the Ace at 16, finishes even. I've heard some say he's taken Phil's title as, "The Best Player..." ( Padraig is my oldest son's middle name too, no relation)

Phil with 20 feet left for his Eagle at 13 (his birdie/eagle percentage is better than Els' here. I'm too lazy to rewind it. Trust me. Meal Ticket 2!) Misses the Eagle but makes the birdie. One back.

I think I read somewhere once that CBS pipes in the singing birds during their Masters telecasts. Seriously.

Another roar. Triplett and his bucket hat get a hole-in-one at 16. That's two aces in 10 minutes at 16. Seven in it's history before Sunday.

Bangbang: Ernie gets birdie at 14 to lead by two, Feherty says he has "one hand on the Green jacket" Phil follows up, almost holing his 2nd. Has a kick-in for birdie (three in a row), down by one. Amy must be getting nervous.

Do you think Gary McCord will ever return to Augusta as a broadcaster? Is their a statute of limitations on '"Body bag" or "Bikini wax" comments?

Ernie missed his first putt badly at 16 but atones with center cut for par. Phil in trouble at 15, punches out, to 75 yards. Needs up & down for bird. I hope he makes it. He didn't and, surprisingly, made par at this 5-par all week.

Phil's off to 16...He's dancin' 20 feet for birdie....Ernie blew it at 17....They're still talking like Choi has a shot......Ernie drives into the sand at 18........Phil drains the putt at full steam...No doubt....And with that we say good-bye to Verne Lundquist doing golf for another year (We want McCord)....

Ernie looks a little un-Easy getting ready for his bunker shot.....Picked it to about 18 feet....Gets the par as Phil pars 17....

It's go time.

The tee shot on 18 at Augusta National is difficult. Made even more so when they recently lengthened it. I couldn't imagine driving it up that chute with the Masters on the line. Of course I have trouble with the windmill (Though I just signed up for the ESPN one-day golf school. Free Cleveland Driver, Wedge & Voodoo putter. I promise this will be a future post.)

MONEY. Fairway.

You have to understand I've been picking Phil to win a major for five years. I used to like his go-for-broke stupidity style but it wore on me in the recent past, so when he scaled it back recently (See: Sawgrass Sat 18th hole shot 2) I was elated and realized his time was nigh. It also helped he shored up his irons and went back to the old putter.

18 footer left,...DiMarco leaves it in the bunker......His second lands just behind Phil's ball and will give him the read....I'd be smiling if I had that read too...DiMarco with a 76, he'll be back with the spooky claw.

Bottom! (through the side door)

TIVO or not...
31 on the back
that putt with the crowd reactions
Jim Nantz's eloquence
Phil high fiving the fans walking toward the scorers cabin
picking up his daughter and asking her,"Do you believe it? Daddy won!"
The Masters version of One Shining Moment with tributes to Bruce Edwards & Arnie (if you don't get goosebumps there...)
the Green Jacket ceremony

Tournaments like that reinforce my love for the game and Tiger didn't even figure in the outcome.

UPDATE: The Tigerless finish at Augusta negatively impacted TV ratings. The household rating was down 22% from last year and the Sat-Sun ratings were the lowest since 1993.

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